Why do Recruiters Post Fake Ads?

Do Recuiters Post Fake Ads? “Why do recruiters post fake ads?” I receive this question from executive job seekers on a pretty regular basis through direct emails, on job search coaching calls and through the LinkedIn Premium Job Seeker Group that I moderate. Job seekers are perplexed by corporate and third-party recruiters will post “fake ads” – ads that do not seem to be for real, open jobs. Well, I can assure you the ads are not fake—ads cost money. Ad money is not being spent to play with the hearts and minds of executive and professional job seekers. Given that third-party recruiters often have to pay for ads before receiving a fee, they are most often being posted with purpose and not to waste your time. However, I know that it definitely does not reduce your frustration. So I was hoping to shed light on what may be happening. (FYI: I was a 3rd party recruiter for 13 years).


(1)  If an ad is paid for, and the right candidate applies within 10 days (which is not always the case, by the way), the recruiter will leave up the ad for the remainder of the ad term to get as many good applicants to add to their inventory for the ad dollars spent, even if the job advertised is filled. Most often, there will be another job just like it to fill in the future. The subsequent candidate help the recruiter build their network in this discipline and industry to improve the speed and ease in filling the next position that will be similar.


(2)  Third-party recruiters work for the company–not the candidate. The company pays the recruiter. So occasionally, a recruiter will run an ad for a job they ANTICIPATE their client will need filled soon. This way they have the inventory upfront and recruitment process completed BEFORE the job comes in from the company. This planning allows the recruitment company to respond very fast to their client company’s needs by submitting qualified candidates immediately and beating their competitors –and not starting the recruitment process at the time the job is placed with them. The company looks favorably on the recruiter for this type of work.


(3)  Along the same lines, recruiting company competition is fierce. Many recruiters are paid on a contingency basis, meaning the recruiter gets paid only AFTER the placement is made. So they are working, in essence for free, until they make a hire with a company. As a result, the recruiter is taking steps to anticipate client job needs and fill their inventory with ready, qualified, top-tier candidates to introduce to their clients as the need arises.


(4)  Ads may be recycled if the recruiter is filling the same type of job for the same and/or various companies.

Hope this gives you some insight into the behind-the-scenes activity regarding ads in the world of a third-party recruiter.


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3 Comments on “Why do Recruiters Post Fake Ads?”

  • Kim Waltz
    3 March, 2014, 17:48

    In addition many H.R. departments run add to look busy.  They go through the motions to keep there jobs.  Also large companies put on a happy face, they advertise for people even as they lay them off to full everyone.  Remember the executives get paid to keep the stock prices up, not to actually accomplish any production.  The stock market runs on what people think reality should be and not what it really is.

  • Christophe
    5 March, 2014, 22:48


    As a new job seeker, I have found this interesting and very helpful.

    Thank You

  • 2 June, 2014, 3:33

    All very true. I’m a third party recruiter and this exactly what happens. Add to this jobs going “dead” from the company, when it decides to do something different to hire an internal candidate etc and you have this scenario. Very frustrating I know…
    Ron Grant